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The practice of using a simple memorable abstraction of a host's numerical address on a computer network dates back to the ARPANET era, before the advent of today's commercial Internet. In the early network, each computer on the network retrieved the hosts file (host.txt) from a computer at SRI (now SRI International),[4][5] which mapped computer hostnames to numerical addresses. The rapid growth of the network made it impossible to maintain a centrally organized hostname registry and in 1983 the Domain Name System was introduced on the ARPANET and published by the Internet Engineering Task Force as RFC 882 and RFC 883.
Office 365 includes data loss prevention and multi-factor authentication, similar to G Suite. It also features message encryption that allows users to send encrypted email to anyone regardless of what email service recipients use. Email is accessible online through a browser on a desktop computer, phone, and tablet, and offline via the included Outlook app. Like Bluehost, Microsoft comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
For any business user or organization today, the decision to use email is a no-brainer. Business simply can't be done in many cases without it. But that doesn't mean you can interchange email platforms or service providers at will. Digging into the capabilities of these services reveals a great deal of additional feature scaffolding that surrounds almost every email implementation by necessity.
Your next major concern will be compatibility. It's not a shock that most businesses run on Microsoft Windows and use some form of Microsoft Office. Being able to use common third-party clients such as Microsoft Outlook can often be a concern, and even today, compatibility with Microsoft Outlook isn't necessarily guaranteed. This is especially true when sending and receiving meeting invites. It only takes one garbled meeting invite to realize how frustrating this can be in the real world. Even if using Microsoft Outlook isn't a concern, portability is. If the service is entirely web-based, then is there a means for me to take my email offline and send email when I connect?
A survey conducted (see graphic above; click to enlarge) by email marketing software provider and consulting service ReachMail Media Services of over 1,000 respondents found that varying percentages of different worker generations attempted to adhere to "inbox zero," while other generations actually preferred using their inboxes as personal information managers.
Based on the criteria above, we’ve determined G Suite is the best email service provider for small business. While it is not the lowest cost option, it’s overall reliability, available productivity tools, best-in-class security practices and ease of integration with other products is the reason it is the dominant provider in the market for small business.
Post initial setup, a primary concern will be the log-on issue. If your organization is fine with a separate log-on for your email provider, then this step will be quick. However, that's not typically what businesses want or users expect. In general, users expect to sign onto their desktops and have their email and file sharing sign-ons happen as part of that one-step process. Not surprisingly, this is called Single Sign-On (SSO) and it's enabled in one of three ways: through the use of a back-end directory service like Microsoft Active Directory (AD); an identity management service, like Okta (one of our Editors' Choice winners in that category); or several compatible web services that include SSO along with other apps and email services, like Google G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium (two of the top providers reviewed here). Which method you choose depends on how your business is configured today and your long-term cloud services strategy. It's definitely a conversation you'll need to have either with your in-house IT staff or your outside IT consultant.
A survey conducted (see graphic above; click to enlarge) by email marketing software provider and consulting service ReachMail Media Services of over 1,000 respondents found that varying percentages of different worker generations attempted to adhere to "inbox zero," while other generations actually preferred using their inboxes as personal information managers.
The flip side of that coin is specialization. Many operators believe that hosted email services are useful mainly to companies interested only in general-purpose email use and that any specialized application requires an in-house deployment. This might be true depending on the app but it might not depending on the capabilities offered by the hosted email provider. Email marketing is a great example. Some hosted email providers have special service suites aimed specifically at email marketers, many of whom can send out thousands of emails per month, focused not so much on communication as they are on marketing. These service providers deliver more than just volume, too, as they also offer custom email creation tools and sophisticated marketing and tracking metrics.
One of the most important compatibility factors to consider with email is the mobility question. How often do your employees need to access email via mobile devices? That's an important issue because most email hosting providers deliver some kind of web client usable as a default inbox. Almost all of these can be accessed via a mobile device, so if your employees don't need to access their emails on the road that much, then such mediocre clients are probably fine.
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